SOV Flashbacks Classics – “Hatchet”

Welcome back to Rotten Ink and another entry in my “SOV Flashback Classics.” This one will be short and sweet and something very fun! The film we will be talking about is one that I know very little about as it was a found gem that I was able to get on DVD thanks to the guy who discovered it on a VHS tape and made it available to fans of Shot On Video Horror. The film is called “Hatchet” or so its said by the tape finder and this could be the original Hatchet film and could even maybe be the start of Victor Crowley as this film was made sometime in the 1990’s. So I know you are really excited to learn about “Hatchet” as I am to share the little information I have on it! So sit back and relax as we take a SOV Flashback look at a film that was once lost and now has been found, the spooky slasher flick dubbed “Hatchet”. And with that also Happy Halloween as what a better way to spend this spooky Holiday than with a SOV Horror flick!!

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The story for this little shot on video gem is that it was found on a VHS tape by a guy and he saved it by transferring the short film to a DVD and then shared it with the fans of SOV Horror. The short seems to have been shot in the 1990’s and was filmed in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and had a cast of maybe four people tops with only two of the kids being the stars and sharing duty of also being the camera guy. The odd thing about the film is that it feels like it was very influenced by films like “Blood Hook” and “Savage Weekend,” but I doubt if these kids making this film had seen those films before making it. The film could have been made by the friends for the fun or it or even could have been made as a school project. And if these kids made this film for the fun of it I wonder if they made any more Horror Movies and if either of them grew up to continue to make films, I mean who knows, maybe one of them is a famous Horror director now or could even be on the crew of the newest Blumhouse Horror Film. It’s a shame that “Hatchet” does not have any credits as the identity of the makers of this flick are truly unknown at this time and makes it hard to know the history of this short Horror film as well as that of the makers.

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So it’s now time for us to take a look at “Hatchet” the film that could have started it all for these young unknown filmmakers and who knows maybe one of these kids in this film was Adam Green, the creator of The Hatchet film series…yeah I doubt it too, but it’s fun to pretend that this might in fact be Hatchet 0! This will in fact of course be a first time watch for me, and I would like to thank the guy who discovered this tape and sold me a copy on Etsy for having it in stock and making this SOV Horror Flashback Classics update possible. I also want to say that for these SOV films, I will write about its plot, my thoughts on the film and will in the end give it a Report Card Grade on the classic A-F scale and will only be judging it on a scale that is ONLY for SOV Horror films as I feel it would be unfair to grade it on a scale that Hollywood or even bigger budget Indie films are graded on. So with that let’s head into the world of “Hatchet”!

Hatchet SOV DVD

“Hatchet”
Starring – ????? & ????     Directed by ?????
199?     Not Rated     7min     Unknown     DVD-R     Full Frame

Movie: A hillbilly in sunglasses with a flashlight to his face talks to the camera about a group of missing people that headed to a old haunted shed and never where seen again, and says that the only way to find out if the legend was true is to go to the shed yourself. We then cut to a warehouse and a delivery driver is asked to make a drop off to the old shed and as he packs up some VHS tapes and heads out his boss goes home and sharpens an ax with a file. Back to the shed, the driver makes the mistake of entering and finds a bloody ax hanging on the wall and learns that he can not leave now as he is trapped in this spooky place and he starts to freak out as he finds that there is no way out! As the deliveryman sits in the dark questioning his life choices, he hears music and follows it only to find a bloody faced dead man in the corner of the shed and then a man with a hatchet appears and starts to chase the deliveryman around and then kills him with the hatchet. We then cut back to the hillbilly from the start of the film and it shows that he is really the Hatchet Killer of the Haunted Shed.

Thoughts: “Hatchet” really seems like a short film that two friends made in one day over the weekend to have fun with a VHS camera that they got in contact with. They filmed in one location with the Haunted Shed clearly being a work shed that is connected to a garage and they did a really good job of using the environment around them to try and pull off a spooky film. The garage does have a great atmosphere as its dark and dingy looking and the only one thing I would say is they should have shot the trapped inside parts at night so that no sunlight would appear in the film. The killer is great as the kids did not go for the normal Halloween masked killer as they used the look of a creepy guy you would see hanging around a fishing pond on a Sunday morning who is trying to make small talk about the bluegill not biting all the while he is looking at you deciding if he could gut you like a fish in 40 seconds flat. The acting is not terrible for this level of SOV Horror with the Deliveryman and the Hatchet Killer only grinning a few times. The film has very little blood and when shown it’s clearly ketchup, the blood substance that all young filmmakers started with. And oddly enough the film also has a first person scene that reminded me of a part of my old film Werewolf Of Ohio as it was shaky as hell as well and was filmed by the films lead as he was fleeing the killer. Over all this little short has charm and was clearly made by friends who were bored one weekend and wanted to make a Horror Movie for them to share with friends and laugh at when they got older.

Grade: B

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I love that this film was found and saved and is now out in the world for fans of cheesy zero budget SOV Horror films can see! Nothing bothers me more then knowing that so many of these types of films as well as Horror Host shows are floating around on Beta and VHS tapes rotting in garages, basements and landfills when so many people out in the world would love to see them. Films like “Hatchet” also show that creative minds are everywhere and that fans of Horror will always find creative outlets to showcase their love for the genre as well as show the viewers their skills in chilling the blood of viewers, readers and listeners. I also want to say that this might sound silly but I would love to see “Hatchet” get a SOV sequel or even a remake and I could do one heck of a fun comic book based on this tale of terror for Blood Scream Comics. Well it looks like the tape is over and the film is starting to rewind, so before we end this update I would like to alert you all about the next one that will be taking us away from the world of SOV Horror and will be taking us back to comic books and better yet one that is based on a Western TV Show, and I am talking about Brave Eagle! I hope you are having a spooky Halloween this far and that this look at “Hatchet” made your holiday a little more dark and spooky! So until next time read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Shot On Video Horror Film or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time for out time with Brave Eagle and his tribe.

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SOV Flashbacks Classics – A Night Of Total Terror

Welcome back to Rotten Ink. For this update, we will be taking a look at another Shot On Video Film of James Rolfe and his Cinemassacre Productions, and when looking at the DVDs I have of some of his movies I decided to choose his 1996 Silent Film “A Night Of Total Terror” as it’s one that seems to be a one he truly loved making and is a major influence of his creative life that followed. The film was made because of a mix of boredom and creativity and was inspired by “Night Of The Living Dead” and the silent film masterpiece “Nosferatu”! So what awaits you readers on this Night Of Total Terror? Well read on and find out as this SOV Flashback update is going to be a blast, and I hope will inspire some of you to pick up a camera and film your own backyard films.

James Rolfe was hooked on making movies at a very young age and armed with his family’s VHS camera he would write and direct his own fright flicks and would try his best to get his friends to act in them and allow his visions to come alive. In May 1996 James at the age of 15 was itching to make another movie and after two of the SNIX flicks and some shorts were in his past, he knew that getting his friends to be in another was not in the cards so he came up with a Silent Horror Film that he himself could play all the roles! You see James was a big fan of classic Horror with the Universal Monsters being some of his all time favorites and during this boring summer he knew he had to make this film and nothing was going to stand in his way and his dream to make this creepy classic style Silent Horror Film. And it was at that time while bored in his room hearing the lawnmowers of his neighbors going outside that he made the decision that this was the summer he was going to make another film and he was going to give it his all as he was going to be a one man cast and crew! And on that day the shot on video film “A Night Of Total Terror” was born and James’s creative life would forever be changed.

James spent a whole day filming and coming up with the film’s plot on the spot and putting the ideas that would come to his mind onto tape, and thanks to all the Halloween masks and props he had from the haunted house he held every year in the family basement he had all the tools he needed to create his monsters! James played all the parts in the film and would have to set his shots up change into another character then hit record and the camera had a three second delay and he would have to run and be in the spot in order to get his shot. When needed during this day of filming he would ask his younger sister to put on the outfit of one of the ghouls in order to get a certain shot, and once she filled in he would take the role back over. He of course shot the film during the day and knew that by turning the film black and white he could play it off that it was late night. And after a long day of filming and editing James had a very interesting short horror film that he could be proud of…but this first day was not the end of this film!

The second day of filming James ended up showing the first part of the film to some of the neighborhood kids and they loved it and wanted to help make the second part of the film, and this gave James the cast and crew he needed and was able to make the film a little easier for him to pull of shots and his ideas could get a little bigger! Plus he could add more monsters to his story, and that is always a good thing in the world of SOV Horror. And things started to move faster on set as he was able to shoot scenes faster and was able feel that rush of making a film at that age and being creative with his friends. He wanted to make a film that built a spooky atmosphere and for that level of filmmaking he pulled it off! James really was a one man production team as for the most part he not only was the story creator, actor, director, special effects guy he also was the film’s editor that he did all in camera…think about that he edited the film in camera and had to rewind the tape in order to take out bad and messed up takes. He also in order to get the silent and black and white look he wanted he had to play the tape on his VCR and turn the sound and color down on the TV and then use the camcorder to tape the TV Screen! And when this film was done James was proud of it, and this is the film that gave him the encouragement to prose a career in filmmaking.

A Night Of Total Terror is for James what “Werewolf Of Ohio 2: 10 Years Before” was for me that moment of picking up a camera and filing with your friends watching your story and characters come to live, the feeling of knowing you want to make films your life…it’s a feeling that is hard to describe but really does give you that bug to want to film more and get better at all aspects of creating a movie. James was so inspired by this film that he would go on to do a “Making Of Film” did a sequel he called “ An Evening Of Real Supernatural Horror”, at one point was working on a remake and even did a mini version for collage called “A New Night Of Total Terror” and even other films he made have taken elements from this film. So while SNIX and a few other films came before it truly his first film that brought him to the SOV dance was A Total Night Of Terror. The film was mostly seen only by his friends and family and would run around 30 minutes, and in 2006 he recut the film and released a shorten version on the internet…it’s a shame as I for one would have liked to see the original version of the film as to me that also shows the heart of the production as well as the skill of the director. But I must also say at least we get to see the film in some sort of way and for that thanks James for sharing your early creative film works with the world.

So I want to say that for this film I will write about its plot, my thoughts on the film and will in the end give it a Report Card Grade on the classic A-F scale. Now keep in mind it would not be fair to grade SOV films like you would a big budget Hollywood Movie or even a bigger budget Indie Feature, that’s why much like I do for “Fan Films” I will be grading them on its own scale on a scale of true to life backyard cinema the true shot on video warriors of the camcorder days. So grab a flashlight and lets take a spooky journey into a Night Of Total Terror!

A Night Of Total Terror
Starring – James Rolfe & Gina Rolfe       Directed by James Rolfe
1996     Not Rated     10min     Cinemassacre       DVD-R     Full Frame

Movie: A thief breaks into a tomb in order to steal a magic lamp, but unknown to him this has caused ghouls and creatures to track him down as they want back what is theirs! The enter his home and try to scare him with eye balls and hands that they leave around even a rat attacks him and bites his neck causing the thief pain…his defense is to throw it all out the window! But when a hockey mask wearing Creep with a top hat and cane enters his home all hope is lost as the Creep attacks him with his cane causing the thief to fight back and bash the Creep with his fists as well as taking the cane and beating him with it, but before he can truly escape or get help a ghoul as well enters the house and the Creep comes back for more causing him to have to flee his house and run into the near by woods at night and finding shelter with a young man who has a tent up as he is camping. The thief will not give up the lamp and has it with him as he sits in the tent and tells the man that he has it and that’s what they want! Meanwhile outside the monsters are gathering as besides the Creep and Ghoul such monsters as a Dinosaur Man, Vampire, black hooded man, the rat and Werewolf have joined in the stalking! The youngster in the tent takes out a gun opens fire on the ghouls and then the thief as well takes the gun and shoots the ghouls and they hurry back into the tent. Once inside the thief asks the kid if he believes in the curse of the lamp, and before he can fully answer the tent is attacked by the ghouls! When one finally gets in they remove their mask as does all the ghouls outside as they only dressed this way to scare them and take the lamp as they are thieves as well! But the joke is on them as the lamp curse is real and turns the original thief and the tent kid into monsters who kill them in the end.

Thoughts: A Night Of Total Terror is a fun backyard shot horror film that you can tell was very much thought up on the spot and props pulled out of the Halloween boxes from the basement, but because of this is why I think it has a charm of being a early work of a director that went onto bigger and better films and shorts. The film for the most part is a silent horror film all though very little title cards are used to explain the plot, but to be honest it’s very easy to follow. You can tell that James had his heart into the film even with the zero budget and at the start lack of help and you can also see his influences from classic black and white horror films throughout. He also had a nice twist ending that was very popular in classic horror that has not everything you see being what it seems. Plus in the end when the thief who is played by James Rolfe turns into a monster cause of the lamp he transforms into a gorilla creature and this makes me wonder if he does so cause of his love for the film King Kong or because Gorilla’s were super popular in classic horror to be the monster on film? The films effects are super backyard and charming with clearly store bought plastic limbs and eyes being used to pull off the “gore”. Also I am not sure but I think that the magical lamp is a Disney Aladdin toy and that is awesome as kids and teens in their backyard epics use what they have and that’s lots of toys, I mean in Werewolf Of Ohio I used a old Lone Ranger gun as the leads weapon! While A Night Of Total Terror is not super scary nor is it the best film James has made, I will say that holds lots of magic as you can tell it was made with the love of horror cinema and filmmaking. Check it out if you are a fan of silent horror and zero budget backyard films.

Grade: B+

After watching this chopped down version of this film I for one once more must stress that I would have liked to have seen the full 30 minute version and hope that one day James will stop chopping these down and allow us to also see the true original versions, no need to George Lucas these films as those who love SOV films enjoy them no matter how flawed they are. In fact I am hoping that someday a company like SOV Horror get the rights from James and put this film out in a collectors edition DVD as the world needs it! I am having such a great time doing these updates based on Shot On Video Horror Films and I hope you are enjoying reading them, and in 2022 I will be doing a few more so that is something for you to look forward to as one of them will be Werewolf Of Ohio the first film I ever made! But for my next update we are leaving the SOV films behind and will be once more looking at a Horror Host and a very awesome one at that as its time we take a look at Dayton, Ohio’s own Baron Von Porkchop! So until next time make sure to read an indie comic or three, watch a SOV film or two, and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next time for a Terrifying Tale Of The Macabre!

SOV Flashbacks Classics – SNIX Series

Welcome back to Rotten Ink! For this update in our countdown to Halloween 2020, I decided to do something a little different and not cover a comic series or even a horror host. Instead, I’ll be covering a shot-on-video horror movie series from the 90’s that was made by James Rolfe, who is better known as The Angry Video Game Nerd!

This series was something James made with friends that ended up growing into something that is very slowly gaining its own cult following and could also be sparking a new generation of indie filmmakers into wanting to make their own films.

James Rolfe started out much like myself as he was a fan of classic old monster movies and enjoyed very much being creative and would do projects with friends or even solo to get it done. When I was a kid, I made my own comic books like Benny The Squirrel, Robo-Raccoon and Miss Freedom, to name a few. At the same time, armed with my tape recorder, I would do my own radio music and dramas as well as comedy skits, mostly about paranormal themes. But one of my biggest outlets for my creative mind was writing short stories, as I would spend so much of my time putting pen to paper and creating characters and the worlds they lived in.

And when I discovered movie making back in 1998, I was hooked on the creative outlet as the films “Teen Suicide” and a short time later “Suicide 2” and “Twisted Batman” were projects my family, friends and I created together and would lead to me making “Werewolf Of Ohio” and “Werewolf Of Ohio 2: 10 Years Before” that would spawn “The Wolf Hunter”, “One Second Too Late”, “Nightmare” and so on over the years! When thinking about Halloween time, I think of backyard shot horror movies that I grew up watching on TV and VHS, like “Trail Of The Werewolf” and “Frankenstein Stalks,” and that’s why I think it’s the perfect time of the year for me to cover the Snix film series and take the Snix Pack Challenge!

For each film, I will write about the plot, my thoughts on the film and will in the end give it a report card grade on the classic A-F scale. Now keep in mind, it would not be fair to grade SOV films like you would a big budget Hollywood Movie or even a bigger budget indie feature, that’s why ,much like I do for fan films, I will be grading these on their own scale — a scale of true to life backyard cinema, the true shot on video warriors of the camcorder days. I chose to start my SOV film reviews and topics with the SNIX films because to me it’s clear that James Rolfe had and has a love for making these movies like filmmakers Chris Seaver, Henrique Couto, Matt Hoffman and Dustin Austen, all of whom in my opinion are the godfathers of backyard films for my generation. So if you are ready, let’s see what this James Rolfe horror comedy short series has in store for us this Halloween season.

SNIX
Starring – James Rolfe & Philip Smith     Directed by James Rolfe
1993     Not Rated     12min     Cinemassacre       DVD-R     Letterbox

Movie: SNIX was killed 3,000 years ago. The evil ghosts he controls are held behind a door, and a young girl sets the spirits free by accident! Two friends Jim and Philip are in the house, and the evil ghosts are targeting Philip as they want him to put on the mask of SNIX so he can live again. The ghosts torment him all around the house to put the mask on…and he does! SNIX has now taken over Philip, and armed with a sword, he starts to stalk Jim all around the house! Jim is able to get the sword and comes up with a plan to take off the mask and try to save Philip, but he must take on the Ghosts who want to protect SNIX. After beating a ghost, he gets a delivery of a special box that takes away all the ghosts by using fear on them. Jim then comes face to mask with SNIX, and he uses the box once more that frees a creepy old man who brings down SNIX. The mask is burned to keep try and stop him once and for all. In the end, Jim cannot help himself and looks in the box himself and passes out from fright.

Thoughts: The first film in the SNIX series is a little rough to get through as it was clearly made by James when he was around 12 years old, and he cast himself and his friend in the lead roles and neither at the time were skilled actors. But to be fair, that cheesy acting is part of the charm of shot-on-video backyard films. The plot is simple: a young girl unleashes ghosts in a house by opening a closet door. The ghosts use their haunting powers along with the mask of SNIX to get one of the two young boys in the house to wear it, and when he does, he becomes SNIX and it’s up to the other to stop the evil again. SNIX spends most of the film as just the mask and demanding to be put on. Once he becomes whole again, he is defeated by the creepy old man (that is really just art pages from a kid’s book done with voice over) pretty quickly and his cursed masked is burnt up. SNIX is not a major threat nor are his ghost minions that are running wild through the house. Jim is our hero and armed with a sword and a magical box that just so happened to be delivered as he runs around his house kicking supernatural butt! Some of the fun parts of this film are when you can clearly see parents in the background and they are just going about their normal day as James and his friends are running around with a plastic sword and a mask made from construction paper. The film is bloodless, as to be expected from a film made by a 12 year old with a zero dollar budget, and of course the plot is not great but shows lots of creativity from James as the essential elements of a spooky story are there. Like everyone’s early films, it just sometimes gets jumbled. This is a good start for the series as it’s clear that it will only go up from here. One other thing about this first film is that it goes from Letterbox to Full Frame from scene to scene!

Grade: C-

SNIX: The Return
Starring – James Rolfe & Brian Genk     Directed by James Rolfe
1996     Not Rated     21min     Cinemassacre       DVD-R     Full Frame

Movie: Three years later, Jim is at his house telling his friend about the mask of SNIX and how Philip put the mask on and was brought down by the old man’s box of fear. SNIX’s mask has returned and is now trying to get Jim to put it on as he wants to be reborn again! Jim tries his best to get his friend to see the mask, but every time the friend looks, it disappears. When Jim is finally able to pick it up, he makes the mistake of putting it on and goes after his friend who tries to fight for his life….but the mask jumps to the friend as he wants his revenge on Jim for defeating him three years ago and chases him around the neighborhood. Jim uses a small stick to beat down SNIX and escapes, but once inside his locked basement the ghosts show back up as does the creepy old man who informs him that he cannot defeat SNIX alone and that they are related and together they can bring down SNIX with the Box of Fear and luck. He once more captures the ghosts and uses the sword on the mask and removes it from his friend, throwing the mask out the window. Then they bury it for good measure, this time hoping SNIX will stay dead.

Thoughts: The second film in the SNIX series plays up the comedy and has the mask playing mind games against Jim before taking over his new friend and trying to kill Jim. This time around, Jim is a little older and a tad wiser, and armed with his Box Of Fear, he once more captures the ghosts and uses the sword to bring down the evil of SNIX. Jim is a hero much like Ash from the Evil Dead series as he doesn’t want to be the hero of the day and thus far seems to fall backwards into defeating the evil mask and his ghost minions. Jim also seems at to be bad luck for anyone that he is friends with as two times now his friends get possessed by SNIX and they are lost to evil. They also add a new plot twist as The Old Man with the Box of Fear is related to Jim and in fact is the one who claims to have brought the evil SNIX down those thousands of years ago. SNIX in this one is just the mask for large parts of the movie demanding to be put on and then jumps from Jim to his friend with the goal being to kill Jim! In the host body, SNIX wanders around and tries his best to frighten and scare Jim at every turn. The ghosts are around, but as fast as they show up, they disappear as that weird old man and his box return to help. This sequel does have some blood in it as Jim is cut by his friend with a knife to the arm, showing that the budget must have been a tiny bit higher than zero. It’s also clear that this film is half spoof and half remake of the original film, and from what James has said, he even used the original paper mask for this one. SNIX: The Return is a fun silly watch and even though the picture quality on the DVD-R I have is not great, it was still fun to see how James was growing as a filmmaker and how the legend of SNIX was growing. And keep in mind James made this film when he was only 15 years old, so I have to give him props for pulling it off as it’s hard to make a solid horror comedy.

Grade: C-

SNIX: Again
Starring – James Rolfe & Brian Genk     Directed by James Rolfe
1997     Not Rated     22min     Cinemassacre       DVD-R     Full Frame

Movie: In 1693, SNIX was a powerful warlock who stole souls and was defeated by a master swordsman who left his body on an island to rot. But SNIX went after the swordsman and caused him to commit suicide in order to save his own soul. That swordsman was Xins, the Old Man with the box of fear, and he is also a spirit that is always in a fight with the evil of SNIX. Jim now understands the true nature of SNIX and the goodness of Xins, and now three months after he buried the mask, he and his friend go back and dig up the SNIX mask and take it back to Jim’s home. Once more the mask tries to force its way onto Jim’s head but fails as Jim places it into his fireplace and before he sets it ablaze, a creep headless body appears and saves it, knocking Jim out in the process. Jim calls his friend over and when he arrives, he is chased around the house by SNIX who is holding a plunger as a weapon. The young man fights for his life against the possessed Jim who was forced to wear the SNIX mask. In the end, the young man leads SNIX into the woods and is able to help Jim get the mask off, and this time around they flush the mask down the toilet….ending his rampage for now.

Thoughts: The third film in the shot-on-video cult classic series brings the true history of SNIX to light and highlights that three thousand years ago he was indeed a true force of evil and something to be truly feared and then goes into the fact that SNIX is back again only three months after we last saw him! This time around Jim understands the true evil nature of SNIX and is coming to grips that the Creepy Old Man named Xins, the keeper of the Box Of Fear, is one of his past relatives, but he still makes a dumb move when he digs up the mask with the idea to burn it again, only to find himself possessed by it and on a rampage to get his friend! The friend is the true hero of this story as he out smarts the possessed Jim and is able to get the mask off him, and together they flush the sucker. SNIX is now shown to also have a headless body wandering around who for some reason has a sock for a hand. It makes you wonder what will happen when, in a future sequel, the two will come back together. This sequel is clearly scripted, as James has stated. and this helps give the film a little structure and takes away some of the more odd moments the other films had. The downside to this sequel is that Jim’s motivation does not make sense at times, and while I can forgive it, I still have to point it out, as this is something that so many shot-on-video film heroes do…mine included. The film is bloodless and once more plays up some humor, much of which has a Scooby-Doo feel to it. This film has a cool animated opening, and I really do like that they dive deep into SNIX’s back story as up to this point it was kind of lost in the shuffle of the series as he had no real backstory. When this one was made, James was 16 years old showing that being creative really was in his blood. While not an amazing SOV film, it is a quick fun entertaining one that adds a little more legacy to SNIX and his cult character status.

Grade: C+

The Rotten Corpse Of SNIX
Starring – James Rolfe & Brian Genk     Directed by James Rolfe
1998     Not Rated     21min     Cinemassacre       DVD-R     Full Frame

Movie: Three days after being flushed down the toilet, SNIXS returns. His headless corpse is still wandering around preparing for something big and that’s to bring the mask back. Now SNIX is whole and looking for revenge! Jim is once again on the run as SNIX goes after his friend with murder on his mind. Jim goes to the Temple of Xins and chats with Xins and learns that the Box Of Fear has been stolen and that Jim is the chosen one to kill SNIX and is given a special sword to do so. All the while, SNIX chases Jim’s friend all around town and before he can kill him, Jim shows up with his new sword and has an epic sword fight with SNIX that leaves the warlock decapitated and his rotten body thrown from a window. Jim takes the mask, and this time places it on train tracks where its run over!

Thoughts: The fourth film is the SNIX series is lots of fun and has the evil warlock monster SNIX becoming whole and targeting Jim and his pal who have defeated him movie after movie! In this film Jim finally gets that he is in fact the only person that can bring SNIX dow, and he now has no fear of the evil warlock and uses his gifted sword to bring the monster down. That’s the one thing about the Jim character at this point, he really has grown from being a scared kid to a sword-swinging hero who is more annoyed that the evil mask keeps returning. His friend in this movie also gets a name, Brian, and this time around he is a major target of SNIX who seems to get enjoyment chasing him all around town with the goal being to catch him and choke the life out of him! Xins himself makes an appearance in the film and is no longer just pictures from a book, but is a costume that glows, and he sadly loses his Box Of Fear (that is used to bring the mask back from the toilet) and passes down his very own sword to Jim that was used to kill SNIX some three thousand years ago. I like the outfit for Xins way more than the pictures as the character now comes off more ghostly. Our ever-returning villain SNIX becomes whole in this film and is filled with mischief and rage as he once more targets Jim and Brian. This time around he even uses a sword with the goal to chop up Jim. But as always, he is defeated, and this time around his mask is run over by a train that shreds it into pieces. I like SNIX’s look in this film as he has a real video game island bad guy look to him. The film has a little blood that is used in the sword fight between Jim and SNIX, and James Rolfe said that at the time this was the longest film for him to make as it took 10 months due to actor schedules. The Rotten Corpse Of SNIX is a great cheesy shot-on-video film that really does capture the fun nature of backyard filmmaking and is one that I think fans of this micro genre of horror should check out. It’s the best in the series this far. I should note that James was 17 when he made this entry in the long running series.

Grade: B+

The Possessed Mask Of SNIX
Starring – James Rolfe      Directed by James Rolfe
1998     Not Rated     13min     Cinemassacre       DVD-R     Full Frame 

Movie: Only three hours after destroying the SNIX mask again, Jim returns home to find the mask of SNIX in his fridge wanting to be put on! He tapes the fridge shut, but the mask once more follows him around the house asking to be put on as Jim is quickly losing his cool and is getting mad as he wants to be done with this evil curse once and for all. The SNIX Mask tricks his way on to his head for a moment, but a quick fall from a chair knocks it loose and Jim this time throws it outside and looks at the mask via the basement window, that is until the mask returns inside again only to be washed in the washing machine. Xins appears and tells Jim that he needs to really stop SNIX once and for all and that the Box Of Fear is still in Jim’s bathroom. He warns him the scariest thing in the world is still in the box. Jim then comes face to mask with the mask of SNIX, and this time after a quick chase and lots of beating the heck out of the mask, Jim thinks he ends the terror burning him up in the fireplace. But as the mask burns, SNIX warns him that he does not need the mask; all he really needs is something to possess!

Thoughts: We are five movies into the SNIX series, and this time around it’s just a showdown between Jim and the mask of SNIX who really wants to be put on and restart his reign of stealing souls. But it’s clear by this fifth film that Jim has really had enough of SNIX and wants to figure out how to stop its curse once and for all, and does what he can to ignore the mask while thinking about what he can do to kill it or at least get it to leave him alone. The ghost of Xins is hanging out in Jim’s basement. He also seems like he wants the curse of SNIX to end and tells Jim that he is the key to stop him. I like how they say all the ghosts are taken care of as they got flushed down the toilet to get the mask back and then Xins captured them all again. One odd thing is they call The Box Of Fear the Box Of Horror in this sequel. The Mask of SNIX also comes off like he just wants to be such a pain in the ass to Jim and is taking pleasure annoying him throughout his life. I also think that when he is set on fire, he knows that this will not end him, and in fact I think this allows his evil spirit to travel beyond just the mask…just a vibe I was getting. The pacing of this film is super fast and is clearly just a sequel that is used to help build up to the final film in the series. This one has zero blood and showcases what James at age 17 could pull off just by himself with some assistance from his family. While not as good as the previous film in the series, this one is a good chapter to build up the world of SNIX and shows that he is angry and wants his revenge on Xins’ bloodline and the world.

Grade: B-

The Banishing Of Evil Spirit Of SNIX
Starring – James Rolfe & Brian Genk          Directed by James Rolfe
1998     Not Rated     14min     Cinemassacre       DVD-R     Widescreen

Movie: Only three minutes after being set on fire, SNIX is back again and Jim makes a quick phone call to Brian to get over to his house. He calls his pal Joe as well to come over to help bring down SNIX…you see Jim is calling in all his pals to help in this fight! But sadly as his friends rush to get to him, the evil spirit of SNIX starts to possess Jim who now becomes the one and only SNIX! Joe is being targeted as SNIX’s next victim as Brian runs home swearing to never visit Jim again.. With the voice of Xins guiding him, Joe gets the Box of Fear and uses it against the evil warlock to knock him away and then beats the possessed Jim with a gold club till he is out cold. As Joe sits on the couch tired from the battle, the spirit of SNIX enters the TV and threatens the world that he cannot be stopped! While SNIX is in the TV, the spirit of Xins appears and uses all his energy to take him and SNIX to the spirit world, ending the evil Warlock’s reign of terror. Jim wakes up, and he and Joe look into the Box Of Fear and find it to be empty as whatever terrible thing that was inside was flushed down the toilet by the body of SNIX when he used the ghosts inside the box to get the mask. In the end Jim walks down the road knowing that he and his friends stopped the evil right there in New Jersey and that the rest of the world will never know about the horrors that could have been unleashed on them all.

Thoughts: The sixth and final film in the SNIX series is a clear love letter to the character that James created when he was only 12 years old and was a way to tie all the movies together as well as finally bring it all to an end. This time around SNIX enters the body of Jim and turns him into SNIX himself. He wants to kill Joe who is a friend of Jim’s and sadly was in the wrong place at the wrong time. But as always, the power of good brings down evil as Xins’ ghost comes to the aid of the young men and rids the world of SNIX once and for all. In this movie Jim knows that SNIX will return in three minutes and does what he thinks is right and that’s bring in his friends to help, and then for most of the movie he himself becomes the snarling evil SNIX! That’s right, think Ash from Evil Dead II when he is possessed and that’s what happens to Jim until he is beaten down with a golf club and has his soul saved by Xins. Throughout this series Jim has faced the evil of SNIX six times and has been a hero and a victim as well has grown into the savior the world didn’t even know it needed. Philip, Brian and Joe are the friends who sadly get caught up in all this madness just because they are friends with Jim and each has changed in some ways with Philip getting the worst of it as once he is possessed, he disappears never to be seen again! Brian has battled, been chased and almost killed by SNIX, and by the end of the series it’s made clear that I think he is done hanging out with Jim ever again. And Joe is just a poor young man who got sucked into the madness after he saw Jim throw the body of SNIX out the window in the fourth movie, and he has to become a hero himself. The ghost of Xins is the story’s real main hero as over three thousand years ago he took SNIX for the first time, and in this final film he is the one that takes him away again. I have to stress I like the glow in the dark/black light costume better then the art from the book version of Xins. SNIX goes from just a haunted mask to possessing people to even finding his old rotten body and wanting to come back to rule the land so badly. The only thing in his way is kids that ruin his plans, resurrection after resurrection! And while he is a soul eating, master of ghosts, he still is a very playful and goofy villain who talks like a cartoon bad guy and even does weird little dances. When he takes his mask off, I love the fact he looks like a stranger version of B-Actor Tor Johnson, fun stuff. While the final film in the SNIX series is not prefect, it still was a great fitting ending to a film series that meant something to James and his friends when they made it.

Grade: B

The SNIX film series is a great look at the beginning days of James Rolfe and his Cinemassacre Productions and is a great tool for inspiring filmmakers to watch as each film shows how James grew as a filmmaker, from his camera angels to his scripts. And now he is one of the best YouTube celebrities going. It’s also a great time capsule of the golden days of home camcorders as well as New Jersey from the eyes of young kids during the 90’s. Plus each of these movies have vintage intros to them done by James that give you a little more insight to each film and the motivation of its creation. I love hearing how he used two VCR’s to edit the films as that was the same way my brother edited his first film, Twisted Batman. Plus hearing that he also used in-camera cuts to edit parts of the film reminds me of some of my early days making backyard films. As of this update, it’s been about 22 years since the final SNIX movie was made, and while I am sure James and his crew will never make another, I for one would love to see him make one last film in the series and use all the knowledge and resources he has now to make one last epic SNIX flick…I mean come on, James could play Jim again and imagine roles for Mike Matei, Justin Silverman, Kieran and Tony from Hack The Movies as they all run away from the evil SNIX…just saying, you know you all would watch it. Honestly, it would also be lots of fun to do a SNIX comic book mini series at Blood Scream Comics as the character should live on and entertain the masses again. Over all while the SNIX films are not prefect, I will say that they are entertaining and show that all creative minds started somewhere.

I hope you enjoyed this update about this shot-on-video movie series as I had lots of fun working on it. I have been thinking about covering more movies here on Rotten Ink, and I am looking at covering films from the following genres: martial arts, sword and sandal, fantasy, westerns, indie horror, Mexican horror as well as, of course, more shot-on-video. And don’t forget, I will still be also looking at fan-made horror films. Plus, I will also be taking a look at talk shows that I grew up watching when I was a kid as seen on my Talk Back update that was about Morton Downey Jr. talking about slasher films that will be joining the ranks of Made For TV Movies and Specials! And I will always have a place for horror hosts as they are some of my most favorite updates to write for my blog. And do not get worried as comic book reviews are still my bread and butter, and they are and will always be the main focus of Rotten Ink as they are what sparked the blog and have kept me writing this long!

So as you can see, lots of great write-ups are coming your way in the next few years, and I truly hope you enjoy reading these updates as much as I enjoy writing them. For our next update, we are walking away from the world of SOV Films and will be heading to The Colony, a nice resort in the middle of the woods and tonight it’s supposed to be a full moon….so you know that the werewolves will be Howling! That’s right, we will be taking a look at the 1981 film The Howling and the Space Goat comic mini series based around it. So until next time, read an indie comic or three, watch a shot-on-video flick or two and as always, support your local Horror Host. See you next update for some quality time with Marsha Quist.